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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, February 6, 2016
'Progress' v. 'Revolution': Bernie and Hillary's Lively NH Debate: 'BradCast' 2/5/16
Coverage and analysis with KY civil rights attorney Joe Dunman and Crooks and Liars' Managing Editor Karoli Kuns...
Black Box Voting's Bev Harris on Iowa Caucus Mess, NH Concerns: 'BradCast' 2/4/16
ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
'Green News Report' 2/4/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems keep pushing climate action, Repubs keep ignoring it; FL mayors slam Rubio on sea level rise; CA AG files suit over massive gas leak; PLUS: FBI launches Flint probe...
Previous GNRs: 2/2/16 - 1/28/16 - Archives...
FL Mayors Slam Rubio on Climate Flip-Flop; Cruz Accused of 'Fraud' in IA: 'BradCast' 2/3/16
Rising ire, rising tides. Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL joins us...
What the Hell Just Happened in Iowa?!: 'BradCast' 2/2/16
Concerned about missing votes, coin tosses, videos suggesting fraud? Caucus expert Prof. David P. Redlawsk explains it all (and more) for you...and me...
'Green News Report' 2/2/16
Cruz promises to kill all energy subsidies; Rubio was for climate action, before against it; Crashing oil prices blow hole in NC budget; PLUS: Bad and good news in CA...
Sanders on the 'Edge'? Really, NY Times?: 'BradCast' 2/1/16
Jim Naureckas of FAIR on corporate media's false balance; Plus: More Dem debates; Trump's Iowa faux pas; Leaker Petraeus gets another pass...
Sunday Toons of the Hawkeye State Moment
Documenting the moments before the Iowa Caucuses via PDiddie's weekly collection of political toons...
Microsoft's App at the Iowa Caucuses: 'BradCast' 1/28/16
Also, the latest on the Oregon 'Patriot' standoff with independent journalist Arun Gupta...
'Green News Report' 1/28/16
Dems focus on climate, energy in IA; FL mayors smack Rubio on climate; Flint stuck with bad pipes, water; Poor bear brunt of pollution; PLUS: Victory for coal miners...
Ernie on Bernie: 'BradCast' 1/27/16
BRAD BLOG legal analyst turned Vets for Bernie advisor Ernest A. Canning on Sanders' electability and much more; PLUS: New OR standoff news, GOP/Dem debate controversies, listener calls!...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


GUESTS: Kentucky civil rights attorney Joe Dunman; Crooks and Liars' Managing Editor Karoli Kuns...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2016 4:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as you might have guessed, it's post-debate analysis of last night's very lively head-to-head debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire.

Joining us to make sense of it all is Joe Dunman, the Kentucky civil rights attorney who represented the same-sex couples suing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to grant marriage licenses last year, Karoli Kuns, Managing Editor of the great Crooks and Liars blog.

During the debate, the first since the Iowa Caucuses and the last between Democrats before voters head to the primary polls in NH on Tuesday, the two candidates sharpened their dispute over potential directions for the Democratic Party (and the nation, along with it), as they hashed out whether to protect and expand on successful Obama Administration policies, as Clinton hopes, or fight for expansive and "revolutionary" new progressive policies as Sanders is calling for.

That question, a worthy one, also leads to a lively debate among the panelists on today's program, which you can listen to in full below! And, if you'd like to ring in on the issue yourself, I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments below, since I think this fight will be continuing for a while. Enjoy!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2016 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Des Moines Register joins the fray to declare "something smells" in Iowa's Democratic caucus results and procedures. Bev Harris of Black Box Voting joins us to examine the concerns about "caucus integrity" on both the Democratic and Republican sides --- what we know, what we don't, and what we should. [Link to the complete audio of the program is at the bottom of this article.]

With partisans on the Right and Left now charging, appropriately or not, that the caucuses were "stolen", and both the Register and Sanders' camp calling for state Democrats to release raw vote totals, Harris notes: "Really, the bottom line is, if they won't disclose stuff, then it smells. If they disclose it, everybody can see for themselves."

"People say, well, there's problems in every election," she continues. "My mantra is: That may be true, but let's see the problems. All I'm saying is let us see them, and let us address them. Most people I talk to --- even if they're very partisan --- they say, 'If I can see it and we lost fair and square, I will accept that.' It really ticks people off when you say, 'we won, and we aren't going to show you how.'"

I ask her about the (now infamous, for some reason) coin tosses, videos revealing chaos and/or miscounts at certain locations, charges that the election was "stolen" for Hillary Clinton and much more, including Donald Trump's charge that Ted Cruz "stole" the election from him and that it amounted to "voter fraud".

"They call everything voter fraud!," Harris tells me. "It's so odd! Even Trump is claiming that when one of the candidates spreads some gossip that wasn't true about another candidate, that that was voter fraud! How is this voter fraud? Can we just call it was it is, which is a problem with election integrity, or in some cases election tampering. But it's not about the voters. Why are we pointing fingers at the most idealistic level, the voters?"

We go on to discuss worries about the even less transparent New Hampshire Primary, where most of the state still uses the same Diebold paper ballot optical-scan computer systems to tally votes that were seen flipping a mock election in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. (Watch how it was done right here, and feel free to be concerned when the 100% unverified results are reported next Tuesday night.)

Among the recommendations Harris offers for those concerned about Election Integrity next week (and for the rest of the year, frankly): "One thing I think is really important --- is for people to get out their mobile phones, take a picture of the results at the polling place [at the end of the night] and they can text it to themselves, to a friend, put 'em on Facebook, Tweet it." She says that puts a timestamp on the graphic image of results as they were produced by computers at the precinct, which can later be compared to the results reported by the state on the web. "I think that's one thing that's pretty important this time. Just photograph the paperwork. It's not hard. Ship it off electronically somewhere, which will automatically timestamp it."

That's particularly important in places like New Hampshire where, she explains, the state "very quietly, and actually wrongfully, passed a law in 2003 so that we cannot go back and look at [paper ballots after the election] ... In New Hampshire, they put an amendment on an unrelated bill, the dark of night, and quietly said 'ballots are not a public record anymore'. So while they may say, 'we have ballots and anyone can look', that's not true. I tried."

Finally, we discuss another heartbreaking loss this week to the Election Integrity community. Last night, we lost Riverside County, California's longtime EI champion, Tom Courbat. A Vietnam-era vet stationed in South Korea, Tom heroically battled multiple myeloma related to Agent Orange exposure for years. As I note on today's show, I spoke with Tom on the phone several times throughout those years about EI issues, even when he was literally in the hospital receiving chemo therapy.

Tom appeared on air with me on a number of occasions over the years, and was often an important source for many blockbuster stories here at The BRAD BLOG. (For example, the 2006 discovery of the infamous "Yellow Button" on the back of Sequoia touch-screen systems that allow voters to cast as many votes as they like until physically restrained from doing so; the 2007 "hack" challenge to the cowardly Riverside County Board of Supervisors who fought in favor of 100% unverifiable voting systems; the blocked recount of CA's anti-GMO initiative, Prop 37, in 2013; And the 2013 law he successfully shepherded through the CA legislature to require that counties release election results in downloadable formats; Those are just some of the reasons why, in 2007, we called Tom a "Hero of Democracy" who is "one of many such quiet, and usually unrecognized, heroes around the country, to whom our nation owes a debt of gratitude which can never be adequately repaid.")

Rest in peace, my friend. You deserve it. I miss you already, but will always remain inspired by you...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2016 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the latest news in the Presidential contest, including two GOP candidates dropping out today, newly scheduled Democratic debates, new polling since Iowa, and new charges from Donald Trump that Ted Cruz "stole" the GOP's Iowa caucuses!

I also speak with Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL today, about the open letter [PDF] she recently sent, with 14 other Mayors from across the Sunshine State, to Marco Rubio, seeking a meeting with the Florida U.S. Senator, now a leading candidate for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination, decrying his flip-flops on climate action.

Rubio, as Lerner explains, was once in favor of action to stave off the worst effects of global warming --- such as the sea level rise already encroaching on south Florida towns like Lerner's --- before he decided to run for President and become a climate change denier.

"Marco Rubio and all the Republican candidates who are in denial, it's really part of a campaign strategy, an ideology, that ignores the reality of the consequences we're facing," she tells me.

Lerner notes that where Republicans in Florida had once actual lead on Climate Change, since Republican Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, state GOPers have almost completely reversed course. That, even as the "very porous geology that the peninsula of Florida was built on" is already taking on more salt water than can be handled as sea levels rise and "100-year storms" are now "coming several times a year."

"Our infrastructure was never built to contemplate addressing the capacity needs that we now find ourselves in," she explains. "We are literally drowning here in South Florida and have no leadership, clearly, at the state level, and have to rely on our next President understanding the risk that we, and the other coastal communities all over this country, are facing."

She describes Rubio's new position of denial as "beyond disappointing," adding: "It's really disgusting to listen to somebody that we well know he knows better. He's just reading from a script that he thinks is going to help him get into higher office."

"We are ground zero," she says about her Village of Pinecrest and the other towns and cities whose Mayors signed on to the letter seeking a meeting with Rubio. "We are the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, of what's going to be happening throughout the United States, and he needs to stand up and lead on these initiatives."

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Myrna Peréz of the Brennan Center for Justice
ALSO: Climate crisis v. Islamic extremism; A new Dem debate?; And the Election Integrity community loses a champion and key voice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2016 5:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, with the first Presidential caucuses and primaries of 2016 now just days away and the first mass voter suppression trial of the year now underway (in North Carolina), we look at a number of recommendations to improve our voting system. But is it too late to make much of a difference for 2016?

First up, some breaking news on the possibility of an added Democratic debate after the Iowa caucuses and before the New Hampshire primary, and some thoughts on the human cost of Climate Change-fueled extreme weather (over just the past month) versus Islamic terror attacks in the U.S. in the 15 years since 9/11.

Then, on to our conversation with Myrna Peréz of the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program to discuss her new report: Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda. The paper offers six important areas --- from voter registration to polling access to vote casting and counting --- where the U.S. system can and must improve its integrity without sacrificing security or access to the voting booth.

"It is possible to protect election integrity without disenfranchising eligible voters," Peréz writes in her report about the solutions she and the Brennan Center offer. "All target fraud risks as they actually exist. None will unduly disenfranchise those who have the right to vote."

As she explains to me today: "We are having is a very contested moment in time where the right to vote is being challenged in a way that we haven't seen in decades. We are seeing politicians trying to manipulate the rules of the game such that some people can participate and some people can't. And we have that butting up against states that have very restrictive budgets, and may not actually have the money or resources to make reforms that would even save money long-term, because they require an initial investment. That, coupled with infrastructure problems --- like we have been registering voters in a really out-of-date way for too long, and we haven't updated our voting machines --- are all colliding to produce a period of worry, where when voters step into the polls on Election Day in November, they're not going to be getting the best customer service for their tax dollars. And that they're not going to be voting in a way that's consistent with what the greatest democracy in the world should be doing."

"We tried to look at where there were opportunities to improve what we're doing, and actually study and address some of the concerns that folks are having," Peréz says. "And do it in a way that is sensible and thoughtful and common sense, in terms of making sure that the cure isn't worse than the disease. And make sure that we're not disenfranchising more people than we're trying to prevent from perpetuating fraud."

We discuss, among many things in our detailed conversation, the real threats to election integrity --- not "voter fraud" by individuals at the polling place, as vote suppressors on the Right would like you to believe, but far more often, and in a much larger way, by political and election insiders. "We need to make sure that our politicians, who are using our resources and our taxpayer dollars, are fixing a problem that is real and addressing it in the most cost-effective and efficient way."

Finally on today's show, a few words and memories in regard to the recent tragic loss of Wisconsin's John Washburn, an integral member of the U.S. Election Integrity community and a reliable and important source over the past decade to me here at BradBlog.com and on the radio, on e-voting in general and, in particular, on some of the nightmarish elections disasters in the Badger State over recent years. John was a great proponent of transparency, open government, proper testing of electronic voting systems and, frankly, one helluva guy. As noted in my more detailed In Memoriam on today's program, John's loss, at the age of 53, is a particularly tragic and costly one for the cause of democracy and free and fair elections in Wisconsin as well as the rest of the nation. We send our thoughts and best wishes to his family, including his wife and three children. His institutional knowledge, good humor and wit will be greatly missed in 2016 and beyond, but his good fight will continue.

(John's guest blog contributions to The BRAD BLOG are here. You can sort through some of his other contributions to our stories and radio programs over the years here. And much more documentation of his work on EI matters and more is still available at his personal website right here. UPDATE: John's family has requested remembrances be posted on this tribute page.)

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Jon Schwarz of The Intercept on how Obama could implement campaign finance reform, on his own, immediately...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2016 5:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast...

First up: New polling shows Bernie Sanders surging in NH among Democrats and Gov. John Kasich --- yes, John Kasich --- surging to second place among Republicans in the state...if you believe those sorts of things. At the same time, during the GOP establishment's half-hearted search for an alternative to Cruz/Trump, the Republican Party appears to be plummeting in popularity during the course of the 2016 Primary cycle, even as actual Republican voters seem to be warming up to the idea of Trump as their party's nominee.

Then, a remarkable new study from Oxfam finds that the world's richest "62 people own the same wealth as half the world" (the planet's 3.5 billion poorest!) And, some of those 62 richest-people-on-the-planet --- like the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs --- are amongst the biggest spenders when it comes to attempts to buy our political system.

So, what can be done about that last part? Jon Schwarz, Senior Editor at The Intercept, joins me to discuss how, despite "eloquent" comments suggesting otherwise during his State of the Union address last week, President Obama could take executive action immediately, on his own, to help radically reduce the "dark money" in our electoral and political system.

"One thing that Obama absolutely can do, by himself, this afternoon, if he wants to, is sign an executive order placing requirements on federal contractors," Schwarz explains, describing other similar actions that the President has taken in the recent past concerning federal contracting. "He can do it and he's done it in the past. What he could do about money in politics now is issue an executive order saying that federal contractors have to disclose any dark money contributions that they're making."

"If he did that, that would cover about 70 percent of the biggest corporations," Schwarz tells me. "So, it would not force the disclosure of any and all dark money, but it would force disclosure of a great deal of that. And, as I say, he could do that this afternoon."

We discuss some of the reasons Obama has failed to do this, to date, despite his calls for campaign finance reform throughout his career and as recently as last week's SOTU --- even with so many calls from so many quarters to take this action. "Obama likes to say really great-sounding stuff about money in politics --- he's said it his whole Senate career, his whole Presidency --- but he's never done anything. It's really extraordinary."

Finally on today's show, a few words on last night's passing of The Eagle's Glenn Frey and the latest on the outrageous lead poisoning crisis in Flint, MI, caused by the tyranny (literally) of Gov. Rick Snyder (R)...

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GUESTS: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; 2012 GOP candidate Fred Karger
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2016 4:03pm PT  

Last night on the Fox Business Channel, nine lucky Republican Presidential candidates gathered to in South Carolina for a debate in hopes of taking down Donald Trump.

So, on today's BradCast, we try to make some sense of it all. Wish us luck!

I'm joined today by our returning champions, Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog and Fred Karger, former longtime GOP political consultant and 2012 GOP Presidential candidate (the first openly gay candidate from either major party).

And, of course, we offer you some of the smartest (and, occasionally, snarkiest) post-debate analysis and insight you'll find anywhere, as Trump and Cruz (and a few other folks) face off just two weeks before the first votes of 2016 are finally cast and, maybe, counted in Iowa...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Mathematics professor John Allen Paulos of Temple University
PLUS: Sanders takes lead in IA and NH and why elections matters...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2016 5:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast, oil prices crash, Sanders surges in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the GOP tries to find an alternative to Trump, we're joined by the mathematician who says that the George W. Bush "Presidency" was his fault...sort of --- and we discuss why it all still matters today.

First up, Desi Doyen joins us to discuss the importance of and reasons for the plunging price of oil, which fell below $30/barrel today for the first time since 2003.

Next, new polling out of both Iowa and New Hampshire suggest the potential for very closes races, on both the D and R side of the aisle, this year. Bernie Sanders, who had been trailing Hillary Clinton in IA for months, has now overtaken her there, according to new numbers, and has increased his lead in NH over the woman still described by corporate media as "the Democratic front-runner". On the GOP side of the aisle, Trump retains his lead in NH, while IA tightens and the search for an "establishment" alternative takes a few surprising turns.

Then, speaking of close elections, we're joined by Dr. John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University to discuss the mother of all close elections, and why he believes his November 22, 2000 NYTimes op-ed helped lead directly to the U.S. Supreme Court stopping the ballot count in the Sunshine State, resulting in their (s)election of George W. Bush.

After I recount (pardon the pun), just some of the chicanery and still-unexplained anomalies that resulted in the exceedingly close tallies reported by Florida in 2000, Paulos, author of the New York Times best-seller, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences and, his latest, A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours, explains how he still "regrets" his mathematical analysis of the race at the time, which ended up being cited by the courts during the legal battle that eventually stopped the tally of paper ballots in Florida.

(For the record, yes, had Florida counted all of the ballots in the state at the time, as the Times reported on November 12, 2001 --- so you are forgiven, if you didn't notice --- Gore would likely have won the state, "no matter what standard was chosen to judge voter intent.")

"People talk about the 'Butterfly Effect' in dynamical systems [ed note: as opposed to the Butterflly Ballots in Palm Beach County, FL!], where tiny little initial differences lead to huge disparities down the road. This was, in a sense, a case where I was the little butterfly flapping its wings in South America leading, after many intermediate events, to a hurricane in New Orleans."

"In retrospect, obviously, I wish I hadn't done that," Paulos tells me about his op-ed, published 15 years ago last month, adding: "As a moral tiebreaker, Gore won almost half a million more votes nationwide. At the very least, they should have flipped a coin" and "Oh, yeah, they should have counted the ballots. That's what should have happened."

Finally, speaking of the consequences of elections and actually counting votes to determine the intent of voters, we conclude today's show by discussing how the George W. Bush administration allowed North Korea to obtain the atomic bombs that the rogue nation is once again using to threaten the world. Yes, more fallout from the disastrous Bush Administration, still affecting us today because we failed to count the voters' ballots.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2016 5:29pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, new polls reveal Bernie Sanders far outpacing Hillary Clinton in head-to-head match-ups against all potential Republican challengers and public sector unions take a beating in the U.S. Supreme Court.

First up today, new pre-election polls from NBC/WSJ and PPP in both Iowa and New Hampshire echo recent national polling suggesting that, contrary to so-called "conventional wisdom", Sanders is more electable against the leading Republican opponents than Clinton is.

Then, constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser joins us to report on today's "brutal" oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case which threatens to gut public sector union funding.

Millhiser, author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, was at the Court for today's hearing, and the news is not encouraging. As he explains, the case challenges the federal government's allowance of "agency fees" charged to non-union members in public sector union shops to help defray the costs of union negotiations. That fee makes sense, since non-union workers must receive the same wages and benefits at such shops as their union colleagues. Non-union workers benefit from those negotiations, he says, since "workers in unionized shops on average receive about 12% more pay than workers in non-unionized shops."

"As a general rule," Millhiser wrote after today's oral argument, "the First Amendment does not permit the government to compel someone to say something they disagree with, and the plaintiffs claim that requiring non-union members to subsidize collective bargaining by a union that they may not agree with essentially rises to the level of compelled speech."

He tells me today that striking down the right to charge these agency fees "creates what's called a 'free rider' problem. If I get something, whether I pay for it or not, a lot of people are going to say 'Well, why would I pay for this when I get it for free?'" That, in turn, threatens the viability of such unions entirely.

Millhiser goes on to say: "It was pretty clear today that there were five votes that are ready to strike down these agency fee agreements --- and that's going to be not great for the future of many public sector unions."

We also discuss how an adverse decision for the public unions here may also potentially be used by the Right to go after private unions as well. "What we've seen from conservative movement attorneys over the last seven or eight years is an extraordinary entrepreneurship. They've been really, really clever in coming up with creative news ways to try to convince courts to implement their policy preferences," he says.

Citing both that point and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's new call for nine, incredibly radical (and regressive) amendments to the U.S. Constitution (which Millhiser describes as the new Republican governor's "plan to repeal the 20th century"), I ask why it is that Democrats and progressives don't show similar "entrepreneurship" in pushing forward their own agenda.

In response, Millhiser defends Dems and progressives by noting a peculiarity about this particular moment in history: "I think conservatives right now increasingly believe that the last 80 years of American history are illegitimate. They believe that our society has started to go off the rails and we have to fundamentally rethink what our government does. Democrats are now in the unfamiliar position of being the nation's conservative party. I don't mean in the sense that they are now to the right of the Republicans. I mean 'conservative' in the sense that Democrats are conservative in the sense that it wants to preserve the gains that we already have."

The result is that Dems are put on the defensive, instead of pushing new, progressive programs forward, as I argue in return, leaving voters less than clear about what it is Democrats hope to do when and if they are elected to office.

Finally, we offer a short goodbye to David Bowie and receive late breaking word from the the U.S. Supreme Court concerning imprisoned former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s final appeal for a new trial...Neither of those news items are encouraging either, unfortunately.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Election integrity watchdog Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2016 5:49pm PT  

Last year ended with a number of voter database breaches --- from the Sanders/Clinton/DNC database kerfuffle to the discovery of the still-mysterious posting of some 191 million voter records online shortly thereafter.

But those concerns may pale in comparison to the fact that the nation is about to begin voting in Presidential primaries and caucuses using electronic voting systems and tabulators that have failed time and again, that remain vulnerable to both malfunction and malfeasance, and that are often impossible for the public to oversee in any meaningful way.

On today's BradCast: Welcome to Presidential Election 2016! Good luck! (We're gonna need it.)

Joining us to discuss the voter database breaches as well as concerns about election integrity and oversight in early caucus and primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and beyond is Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org.

Harris, the election integrity watchdog featured in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy, has been investigating and writing about those voter database breaches lately, including a new one that has just been discovered concerning tens of millions of additional voter records.

While voter registration databases actually contain public information, she explains, there are restrictions on their use, and they are not supposed to simply be posted publicly for download. "This stuff is not secure. It'll probably never be secure," she warns. "One of the things I did was really research how many of the breaches have occurred over time, and it's a shocking number. You can't secure this stuff." As we discuss on today's program, that point is something to keep in mind when you hear advocates of Internet Voting systems (the next nightmare that some hope to force upon American democracy) claim otherwise.

We then step through the differing voting processes used in each of the early voting states, with Harris explaining that completely unverified and/or unverifiable e-voting and tabulation systems --- most of them hacked many times in the past --- will once again be in use in every state in the union. Yes, even where hand-marked paper ballots are used, almost all of those ballots are tabulated by unverified computer systems.

"I'm not at war with a machine," she explains. "I'm at war with no transparency. We have to be able to have some way to see and authenticate that count, before the ballots travel anywhere."

Harris tells me: "The key here is not that there will never be a mistake, or never be fraud. The key is that the public has a right to accountability. If you can catch it, and do something about it --- if you're vigilant enough and doing a patriotic duty of vigilance --- then that's the whole point. When you start saying, 'No, you can never see, you can never account for it,' then you have a problem."

We discuss how it was, in fact, public oversight of hand-counted paper ballots at GOP caucus sites in Iowa in 2012 which resulted in the correct results actually becoming known weeks later, long after the Republican Party misreported them on the night of the caucuses.

Transparency, however, is not quite as easy in other early voting states like New Hampshire (remember the unbelievably unverified mess there in 2008, when Hillary Clinton's victory defied even Exit Polls taken on the day of the Primary?) and, especially, South Carolina (remember the unknown Alvin Greene's 100% unverifiable and inexplicable victory in their 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary?)

"There's not just one magic wand you can wave, but there are things to at least force some accountability into it," Harris tells me, describing some of the ways election integrity advocates can try to force the issue a bit. Among her suggestions: "You can go [to the polling place at closing time] and snap a picture of what those [computer tabulated] results are with your cell phone and compare it with, at least, what they report" later on.

We cover a lot of ground in the conversation and I suspect we'll be discussing this issue with her, and others, a lot more as the election year moves forward. But today's show is a good place to begin.

Finally, speaking of warnings we keep trying to give you, Desi Doyen joins us for the very first Green News Report of the new year as El Niño --- turbo-charged by climate change --- ravaged the globe over the holidays and beyond...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUESTS: Journalists David Dayen and Jacki Schechner...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2015 4:42pm PT  

The DNC seems to have wanted their Democratic Presidential Debate in New Hampshire over the weekend to remain a secret. Otherwise, why would have they have scheduled it on the Saturday before Christmas?!

On today's BradCast, we spoil the secret by talking about that and everything else that actually went on during Saturday's debate on ABC between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley.

Joining me are financial journalist David Dayen of The Fiscal Times, Salon, The Intercept and everywhere else and health care reform advocate and journalist Jacki Schechner, formerly of CNN and CurrentTV.

Among the issues covered in today's post-debate coverage and analysis:

  • Do voters actually care about last Friday's database breach by the Sanders campaign?
  • Is the DNC 'in the bag' for Hillary Clinton?
  • Do Democrats play into GOP/corporate media narratives by spending so much time discussing ISIS and terrorism?
  • Is there any real daylight between Clinton and Bernie Sanders' positions on gun safety reform?
  • Does Martin O'Malley bring anything to the contest that Clinton and Sanders don't already have covered?
  • Why did ABC News spend so much time on Republicans during Saturday's Democratic debate?
  • Does the math really work for Sanders' plan to provide free college tuition to all public colleges and universities by instituting a tax on Wall Street transactions?
  • Does the math really work for Sanders' call for a single payer health care system?
  • Did ABC's Martha Raddatz completely misinform America in her question to Clinton concerning Obamacare?

All of that and much more on today's BradCast, as expertly answered by Dayen and Schechner! Especially helpful to those of you who might have had something else to do on a Saturday night before Christmas...like, I dunno, go see Star Wars!

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Award-winning climate scientist, creator of 'hockey stick graph', discusses landmark COP21 pact, GOP science denial, investigating Exxon, and how climate is now changing weather...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2015 5:07pm PT  

"It's difficult to understate the significance of this agreement," Dr. Michael E. Mann tells me on today's BradCast. "I think we are witnessing the end of the age of fossil fuels and the beginning of a new age of a clean global energy economy."

Mann, the Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, creator of the infamous "hockey stick graph", and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, was speaking, of course, of the historic U.N. Paris Agreement, where negotiators from some 200 nations unanimously agreed over the weekend to curb the release of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, in hopes of staving off the worst effects of climate change.

The landmark COP21 accord has been some 21 years in the making, if not many more, as explained during today's show. While cautioning that "the devil is in the details" and "reductions that we'll get out of this agreement alone won't be enough to keep us below dangerous levels of warming," Mann says the agreement finally "starts to put us on the path to avoiding dangerous climate change."

But is it too little too late? Is it even possible to keep global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, as called for by the agreement (which also asks nations to keep that rise no higher than 1.5C, if possible)? Mann tells me he believes there is still time to avoid the worst consequences of man's behavior and decades of inaction.

"I can give that answer confidently, as a scientist who studies the numbers. Yes, it is absolutely still physically possible," he says. "What is more in question, of course: is it doable? Is it achievable? And that's a matter of political will. That's really the only limitation."

We discuss those political limitations and much more today, including Mann's op-ed in last week's New York Times slamming Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chair of the U.S. House Science Committee, for his "assault on climate science," as well as Smith's published response to that op-ed. "There's not a truthful word in his statement," Mann retorts.

I also ask the professor about former NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen's assertion that the Paris Agreement is a "fraud" because it fails to include a specific global price on the release of carbon into the atmosphere; about the increasing calls for investigation and prosecution of ExxonMobil for obscuring their own scientists' findings about the "potentially catastrophic" effects of global warming as early as 1977; about that satellite data set cited by Republican climate deniers to suggest that global warming has either paused or doesn't exist at all; and a few more of what I characterize as my own "dumb science questions" about the effects of climate change on weather predictions and El Niño.

As usual, Mann pulls no punches in today's exclusive BradCast interview.

Also today: President Obama's update on the continuing military fight against ISIS and new polling news for both Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates (and the Sanders campaigns' decrying of a network news "Bernie Blackout") in advance of the next GOP Presidential debate on Tuesday...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/27/2015 11:24am PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: One Republican senator breaks ranks to support Obama's Clean Power Plan; Illegal deforestation causing killer air pollution in Indonesia; Washington DC gets creative with the excrement flowing out of the nation's capitol; PLUS: Senator James Inhofe has a plan to derail international climate talks... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The House science committee is worse than the Benghazi committee; Coal company sues over 'destructive' EPA ozone standards; Rubbish haul found in stomach of dead whale; Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows; Study Faults E.P.A. for Toxic Wastewater Spill in Colorado Rockies; Monsanto Clears USDA Regulatory Hurdle for New GMO Corn; ExxonMobil Targets Journalists; Deadly Heat Is Forecast in Persian Gulf by 2100 ... PLUS: Interactive: Greenland Is Melting Away ... and much, MUCH more! ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Ernest A. Canning on 9/25/2015 9:22am PT  

The core message that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delivered last month when he addressed Party leaders at the Summer Meeting of the Democratic National Committee entailed a lesson in electoral math, according to The Nation's John Nichols.

"Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate or the U.S. House, will not be successful in dozens of governor races across the country," Sanders observed, "unless we generate excitement and momentum to produce a huge voter turnout."

The "electoral math" to which both Sanders and Nichols refer is the math which, they argue, is achievable during the second stage of a Sanders-led, "political revolution". That would be a phase --- once Sanders was able to secure the Democratic Party nomination and prior to the November 2016 election --- in which it would be all but impossible for the corporate-owned media and Democratic Party establishment to conceal or evade Sanders' issue-based message. Even those members of the Democratic Party whose careers have been linked to monetary contributions from what Noam Chomsky describes as "the substantial people" would, at that point, be hard-pressed to stand in the way of the revolution's momentum.

But, for now, Sanders is in the midst of the far more difficult first stage --- one that requires overcoming the corporate-owned media's marginalization of his campaign. It also entails overcoming the exercise in self-protection by the Democratic Party establishment. Long before the first vote has been cast in either a caucus or primary, the Clinton campaign boasted that its backroom deals had already netted one-fifth of the delegates needed to secure the nomination from amongst the unelected super-delegates --- party leaders who do not have to abide by the will of the electorate in their respective states. Simultaneously Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), the DNC chair and former co-chair of the Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign, has sought to blunt Sanders' attempt to eliminate the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their "representatives" occasioned by the manner in which elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population --- with her imposition of severe limits on the number and timing of the Democratic Party Presidential Debates.

Sanders has countered those maneuvers, somewhat, by relying instead upon alternative and social media, drawing huge crowds, growing an army of grass roots volunteers and, most importantly, offering both authenticity and substance in his campaign.

The results, to date, have been encouraging for the Vermont Senator. Just a few months ago, Clinton's leads in New Hampshire and Iowa appeared insurmountable. But now, as New Hampshire Public Radio noted recently, "The latest polls show Sanders leading Clinton by 22 points in New Hampshire and by 10 points in Iowa." Some who have examined polling trends, such as historian Eric Zuesse, have gone so far as to boldly predict Sanders will become the next President of the United States.

That's the current battle of phase one of the electoral math. More interesting, however, is the dynamics of what could become the second and third phases of a Sanders-led democratic revolution...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Former MD Governor turned Presidential candidate equates constricted debate to a 'decree of silence'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/31/2015 1:20pm PT  

Standing at a podium before the Democratic National Committee (DNC), within arms length of DNC Chair and 2008 Hillary Clinton national campaign co-chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), former Maryland Governor and now a 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O'Malley slammed the DNC for what he described as an "unprecedented" effort to "rig" the 2016 nomination process. (See video of O'Malley's DNC speech below).

Speaking at the DNC's Summer Meeting in Minneapolis over the weekend, O'Malley described the Party's decision to severely constrict the timing and number of Democratic Presidential primary debates (six total, just four before Primary voting begins) as "cynical." The DNC edict also imposes a punitive exclusivity clause that would prevent any candidate from participating in the DNC-sanctioned debates if they took part in any other unsanctioned debate. This contrasts sharply with the 26 Democratic Presidential primary debates that took place during the 2007-08 election cycle --- a process that was described as "an important factor in underdog Barack Obama's victory" over then front-runner Hillary Clinton.

This time, the first Democratic Presidential primary debate has been delayed until Oct. 13, 2015 --- four days after the deadline for unaffiliated NY voters to register to vote in the state's April 19, 2016 Democratic primary. O'Malley added that the one debate in New Hampshire, now scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 19, has been "cynically wedged in the high point of the holiday shopping season so that as few people watch it as possible."

"Four debates and only four debates --- we are told, not asked --- before voters in our earliest states make their decision," O'Malley said. "This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before. One debate in Iowa. That's it. One debate in New Hampshire. That's all we can afford."

O'Malley's charge, and palpable tension with party chair Wasserman-Schultz at the weekend event, echo a familiar process of establishment party politicians looking out for what they perceive as their own best interests, if not that of rank and file supporters...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




GOP's 'Winner-Take-All' system may open nomination door to Trump...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/3/2015 7:05am PT  

Initially utilized by William Shakespeare in Hamlet, the phrase "to be hoisted by his own petard" now refers to someone who is hurt or destroyed by their own plot or device. That phrase may well come into play by July 18, 2016 when the Republican Party gathers in Cleveland for its national convention --- precisely because of the undemocratic nature of the GOP's own primary rules.

The Democratic Party will, for the most part, select pledged delegates to its national convention on a proportional basis, based on primary and caucus results in each state. Additionaly, the Democratic Party employs an undemocratic feature in the form of "superdelegates", consisting of Democratic governors, members of Congress, members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other party leaders, including current and former Democratic Presidents.

Like the Democrats, the Republicans also utilize "superdelegates" who are able to play a role in final selection of the party's Presidential nominee. Beyond that, however, the process the Republican Party uses to select its rank and file delegates to their national nominating convention is notably different. Only 16 states, which hold primaries or caucuses prior to March 14, 2016, will select delegates on a proportional basis. All other pledged delegates to the 2016 RNC will be selected based on a winner-take-all system from each state's primary or caucus system.

Where some, like the right-wing National Review, suggest that the crowded field of GOP presidential candidates could produce the first brokered Republican convention since 1976, recent polls suggest a greater likelihood that the GOP will nominate as its standard bearer the candidate least likely to succeed in the general election.

A recently released Quinnipiac University poll, reports that, "with 20 percent of Republican voters, Donald Trump is the clear leader in the crowded Republican presidential primary field." At the same time, interestingly enough, he also "tops the 'no way' list as 30 percent of Republican voters say they would definitely not support him," according to the Quinnipiac poll. Trump has "the worst favorability rating of any Republican or Democrat, a negative 27-59 percent among all voters." The poll also finds that whether matched up against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, Trump would lose the general election by a wide margin.

It really doesn't matter that, nationally, 80% of Republicans may prefer another GOP candidate. In winner-take-all states, like Florida, where Trump leads his closest rival, the state's former two-term Governor Jeb Bush, 26% to 20%, Trump does not have to secure a majority of Republican votes. He need only secure enough votes to defeat whoever comes in second to gain the entire list of Sunshine State delegates to the convention. Accomplish that feat in enough crowded primary states, and Trump becomes the next GOP nominee for President of the United States.

Thus, there's a distinct prospect that the GOP may be hoisted by its own, undemocratic winner-take-all primary petard.

CORRECTION: Originally, we erroneously reported that pledged delegates to the RNC would be selected on a proportional basis in only 4 states. The correct number is actually 16. The article above has been modified to reflect those accurate numbers.

* * *
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam Vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @cann4ing.




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